by Rajendra Prasad Poudel
The development of information and communication technology (ICT) is widely recognized as an essential component for economic growth of a nation. It will be not exaggerated to say that ICT infrastructure has potential to promote social development of every community. Access for ICT to seek the information as well as receive and impart information comes in the sector of basic human rights. The rapid growth and development of advanced communication system and internet has breakout all the boundaries among the countries and societies and opened opportunities for communities living in underserved areas. ICT devices and applications has drastically shortened the physical distances and simultaneously decreased time spans as an outcome brought grate possibilities by reducing cost and improved work performance. These factors have redefined different economic perspectives and increase the significant investment from government and private sectors to get instant benefits from it. The nations who have seriously recognized the importance of “Digital Economy” has adopted ICT tools and application in all possible areas and span the knowledge-based society. Development of ICT has been seen form of Radio, Land telephone, analog television, cable television, computer, satellite connectivity, internet, wireless technology, mobile telephone, optical fibers, 4G technology and much more. The motivation behind the discovering of these wide ranges of communication technologies is to servicing the rural and remote areas by connecting the people there and binging them in the development mainstream through the exchange of information and services.
Those services can be from the basic healthcare, education, business or service marketing to entertainment. The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) has brought to fore the role of ICT for development and highlighted its significance. But there is serious concern about the ICT being responsible for creating digital divide between the developed and developing nations, between urban and rural populations and between rich and poor communities. So it has been realized there will be significant difference in economic conditions of nations with and without developed ICT. The Policy makers and development experts recognize that ICT and its potential services should help to address equity concerns by bridging the knowledge gap among the rural and urban communities. Issues related with underdevelopment are partly linked with the lack of unequal access to information especially those vital information which are used for making critical decisions and gives meaningful result for their rest of life time. Such huge inequality in access to knowledge and information between “ICT empowered communities” and ICT excluded communities” needs to be narrowed down.
In this regard, a number of initiatives have been implemented to address the digital divided through the different programs in national and local level by public and private sector of Nepal. After the introduction of IT Policy 2000, rural tele-center program have initiated by Nepal Information Technology Center (NITC) and High Level Commission for Information Technology (HLCIT). Similar initiative have been done from the public sector, such as E-Networking Research and Development (ENRD) has expanded broadband ISM frequency based wi-fi network up to 300 villages in 14 districts. READ Nepal has installed Computer as part of Information Technology in more than 35 communities’ libraries. Hundreds of Community FM movement has been initiated. In other hand private sectors have been playing important role on establishment of IT industries in different sectors such as telecommunication and Internet network, software development, hardware installment and service distribution etc.
One of the difficulties of extending development ICT...